In a stunning act of community philanthropy, Mary Heineman, matriarch of the Heineman family in Port Clinton, turned over the keys to the old Heineman Distributing Company property on West Second Street in Port Clinton to the organization controlling the Portage Resale Center, represented by Bob and Linda Snyder. The actual event took place Tuesday morning at the Sutton Center, another endeavor of the Snyder Group of Companies.
Mary Heineman, widow of the late Harry Heineman, who along with his cousin Otto founded the distributorship in the mid 1930s, told the gathering that she and Harry had discussed what to do with the building. She stated that Harry told her that they ought to do something that will commemorate the accomplishments of the Heineman family and their contribution to the community. Now that the I’s have been dotted and the T’s crossed, she believes that Harry would be most happy with how the building will be used and how the Heineman name will be dedicated.
The facility is a total of 15,000 square feet and will allow for a major expansion of the Portage Resale Center, which has outgrown its present facility within the Truth Ministries building, which is the old Portage School on State Road. Snyder noted that the building will be totally renovated and he hoped to have it completed by Labor Day.
The Portage Resale Center is a 501c3 not-for-profit company, and Bob Snider reiterated that all of the net proceeds from the sale of the donated items will go back to the community, based on the decisions of a 10-member board of trustees. Local charitable agencies such as United Way, Salvation Army, Ruth Ann’s House, etc. will be the beneficiaries of those proceeds.
The building itself has a very interesting history. In the late 1800s, it was the site of the first St. John Lutheran Church in Port Clinton. According to Steve Heineman, the family moved to the present location because the Sunday Services were disturbed by passing trains on the overpass right behind. It was an auto dealership before Otto was approached to make it a beer distributorship.
Financing will be made available through the help of five local banks and Snyder is scheduled to meet with a group of six contractors to help with the building renovation. Hartung Title did the title work as a donation to the cause. A large part of the real estate commission was also donated by Len Partin from Jack Bradley Realty. Snyder estimated the value of the renovation at more than $100,000. In the end, it will be known as the Heineman Building.